Knowing your rights is the best way to protect yourself. The team at Law Office of Jeff Manciagli has put together this guide so you can be aware of your rights when interacting with the police.
Your Rights as a Citizen
Many people are unaware of, or misunderstand, their rights when interacting with the police. Many others feel that they should forfeit their rights in order to cooperate with the police and hope for a positive outcome in return. Unfortunately, all this does is allow for the police to collect more evidence against you.
Here are the rights you need to know:
- The Right to Remain Silent: This applies in all interactions with the police, not just after you are arrested and Mirandized. If the police approach you, your vehicle, or come to your home to inquire about criminal activity, you do not need to talk. Instead, calmly state that you are using your right to remain silent and contact a defense attorney.
- The Right to Refuse a Search: If the police ask to search your vehicle or property, you do not have to consent. Don’t feel pressured to give permission. Some people feel that not giving permission makes them seem guilty. Even if this does make the officers more suspicious of you, by saying no to a search, they cannot collect evidence against you.
- The Right to Legal Counsel: If you are arrested at the end of your interaction, you have the right to legal defense.
Exceptions to Police Search Rights
While in the majority of cases you are under no obligation to consent to a police search, there are a few circumstances for which the police can conduct a warrantless search and the evidence will be considered legal.
First, if the suspect consents. This is why it is crucial that you do not consent to a search. Once you give permission, the search is legal and any evidence collected could be introduced in court. Some officers use the strategy of saying how quickly they can obtain a warrant, so you might as well let them search the vehicle anyway. It’s true, they can quickly obtain a warrant; however, if they are telling you this to try and get permission for a search, it’s likely they have insufficient cause to get a warrant to begin with.
Second, if there is evidence in plain view. This means that when looking into your vehicle, the police can see clear evidence. For example, drug paraphernalia in your center console. If they can see this, they can conduct a warrantless search without your permission.
Possible Charges After a Police Search
If the police find drugs in your car or home, you could face numerous drug charges.
- Possession with intent to distribute
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Drug trafficking
If you cross state lines with a controlled substance or have a significant quantity of a drug in your possession, you could face federal charges.
Illegal Search and Seizure
If you did not consent to a search and the police conduct one anyway, this is important information that you should share with your defense attorney. Your attorney can collect evidence to help prove if the search was illegal, thus making the drug evidence inadmissible. This can be a great benefit to your defense and can even lead to your case being dismissed for a lack of evidence.
Georgia Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
If you’ve recently been charged with a drug crime in the Atlanta area, call Law Office of Jeff Manciagli at (770) 884-4708. Our attorney has helped countless clients facing serious drug charges, and has obtained numerous favorable outcomes. If you want aggressive and experienced defense, Jeff Manciagli is the attorney for you.